Although the Israeli public initially sympathized with the plight of Gaza and West Bank evacuees, a backlash has begun to occur against some of the settlers for complaining that the government was ill prepared to resettle them properly.
“We heard terrible things, like we had gotten compensation so why were we complaining, that we hit the soldiers, that we took the Arabs’ houses and we were asking for mercy we didn’t deserve,” Einat Yefet, a settler youth protest leader told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
David Kimche, a former director general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, said the settlers are playing a “game.”
“They are saying that because they refused to accept anything they are now in a bad way and are not being cared for,” he told The Jewish Week. “It’s because they didn’t want to have anything to do with the people who were organizing [the evacuation]. They are not getting much sympathy.”
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon reportedly told the Disengagement Cabinet Wednesday that despite media reports to the contrary, the government has offered to keep evacuated communities intact.
And a special meeting of the Finance Committee Tuesday was reportedly told that the government spent millions of dollars reserving 1,000 hotel rooms for the evacuees but that 800 were not used. In addition, 600 of 850 rental apartments also were empty.
One Knesset member, Haim Oron, was quoted as saying that evacuees who refused to work with the Disengagement Authority to perpetuate their own homelessness and suffering “do not have my sympathy.”